Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticized the White House’s recent announcement that President Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of former intelligence officials who have "politicized" and "in some cases monetized" their past service, according to the White House.
"I can't even believe that somebody at the White House thought up something like this," Corker said in an interview with MSNBC Tuesday. "I mean, when you're going to start taking retribution against people who are your political enemies in this manner, that's the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela."
"So you just don't do that,” he continued. “I can't believe they even allowed it to be aired, to be honest. I mean, it's a banana republic kind of thing."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday that the president was “looking to take away [John] Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the security clearances of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice, and McCabe.”
Sanders argued that these former intelligence officials were making “baseless charges” against Trump and their security clearances give these charges “inappropriate legitimacy.”
“The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove security clearance because they've politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances,” she explained, “making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate. And the fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper responded by calling it a “petty thing to do.” He later added that former officials still have access to classified information so they can “facilitate consultation with the current incumbents.”